The Hindley School community received a great surprise this afternoon when Principal Rita Ferri announced that the school was designated a 2012 Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. This honor recognizes Hindley as an “exemplary high performing school.”
The Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools that have either performed “at very high levels, ” or have shown great improvement. High-performing schools are evaluated by state tests, like the CMT. The latter category evaluates schools where at least 40 percent of their students are from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Ferri found out about the school’s recognition late Thursday night and called for a faculty meeting at 3:15 p.m. Friday afternoon, shortly after students went home. The state department analyzed the school’s progress over the past five years.
The hard work recognized at Hindley depends on collaboration from teachers and administrators, both at the school and throughout the district, Ferri said. She acknowledged that her teachers work very hard, but that students and their parents, who teach them to love learning, are part of the equation for success.
“Someone’s success is everyone’s success,” she said. “You have to look at the larger picture.”
Superintendent Stephen Falcone shared the news with the district on Friday afternoon as well. “This is a tremendous honor for the members of the Hindley School community and the Darien Public Schools,” Falcone wrote in a press release. “The recognition is a testament to the work done by the administrators, faculty, staff, and parents on behalf of students. The teaching and learning culture that exists in the district as well as a commitment to collaboration promotes continuous student improvement.”
Ferri was first notified by the Connecticut Department of Education in the fall that Hindley was nominated. It was kept under wraps until the final recognition. Neither faculty, teachers or parents were aware of the nomination.
Hindley had to submit a packet of information that took about a year to organize including CMT scores, Adequate Yearly Progress report and 16 essay questions including those on the rigor of the curriculum, communication with parents, and teaching methods and professional development.
“It’s the pinnacle,” said Ferri. “Like if I lived in Hollywood and I was awarded the Academy Award. I’m thrilled.”
Principal Rita Ferri will attend a national award ceremony in Washington D.C. on Nov. 12-13.